Nonhuman Memory (NeMLA panel)
In an episode of a British TV series Black Mirror called “Crocodile,” set some time in a near future, memories, both human and nonhuman, become recordable and viewable on a simple, portable device. This unassuming gadget seals the future of the protagonist—a murderer—who, while eliminating all human witnesses to her crime, forgets the nonhuman witness, a guinea pig, whose memory the police is then able to view to promptly identify the suspect. In the 2017 Blade Runner, androids have childhood memories that they know to be fake, implanted by the manufacturer. In turn, cli fi and environmentalist writers inscribe elements, such as water, air, soil, or dust, as memory devices, creating nonhuman archives for posterity. In Ruth Ozeki, floating trash gets reconceptualized as the Great Pacific Gyre memory—an archive of human activity preserved by a nonhuman entity. What tools to we need to theorize memory in the age of the nonhuman? How does it change the ways in which memory has been conceptualized prior to the nonhuman turn? Is nonhuman memory a feature of technocapitalism, a universe where memories are bound to become machinically mediated, implantable, removable, produced, commodified, and thus alienated from humans? For this seminar, we invite papers by both literature and media scholars that explore nonhuman species memory, machinic memory, geologic memory, and other forms of nonhuman sensory and non-sensory perception, storage, and recall.
Please submit abstracts directly into NeMLA onlne system by September 30, 2018.